Month Aviv 1:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5937:017 AM|
Passover Season Day #4/8, Chag haMatazah Day 3/7, Annual Moed #2
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 26 April 2013
Chag haMatzah 2013 III
A. What Actually is Scriptural Leaven?
Continued from Part 3 (Passover Season 2013)
Introduction: What is Chametz?
Every year people ask me at this season what qualifies as biblical chametz or "leaven" that we are commanded to both remove from our homes and cease eating at Chag haMatazah (Feast of Unleavened Bread)? In the past, because I have not been sure about this question, I have taken a very conservative position and counselled people to get rid of all leavening agents, living as well as purely inorganic, along with the food that was made with it. This year, having looked into this matter more carefully, we believe we have arrived at an accurate Scriptural exegesis. It is this I wish to share with you today on this the third day of Chag haMatazah (Unleavened Bread).
We will not be able to properly answer this question without going back to the actual time when the Scriptures were written down for us and asking first of all what kind of chametz (leaven) did the ancients possess? Did they, for example, have modern organic and inorganic raising agents such as we have? Then, having satisfied ourselves what the actual scriptural chametz (leaven) was, we have to ask ourselves what spiritual image Yahweh was trying to convey with that particular chametz (leaven)? What we must not do is try to superimpose modern ideas and practices into the original ones. We must let the Bible speak from its own time using its own symbolism.
How Sourdough Was Made
Biblical leaven was originally a sourdough. For those of you who don't know what that is, soughdough is chametz (leaven) for making bread, consisting of fermenting dough, typically that left-over from a previous batch. In other words, sourdough produces what's called a 'line'. The ancients did not used dried yeast such as we buy in packets in the store. Theirs was cultured from nature unlike ours today  . When it was time to bake a new loaf of bread, a piece of the 'line' - a piece of the old leavened dough was put into fresh dough to leaven it to be baked. A small piece of this leavened dough was always kept back from that new lump having been, as it were, 'begotten' from the union of the previous leavened (sour) dough and the next one 'along the line'.
Sourdough as a Spiritual Line
This method of propagating sourdough is very important to an accurate understanding of Scripture where it is used illustratively and symbolically. For the Bible contrasts the old 'genealogical line of Adam' (the old line of sourdough is destroyed in Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread) and the new 'line of Messiah' - the new line produced after Chag haMatazah (Unleavened Bread) that is required for the Shavu'ot (Pentecost) bread - is started.
Chametz Effects a Complete Change of the Dough
"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" (1 Cor 5:6-7, NKJV; cp.Gal.5:9)
A little biblical leaven can spread to 'leaven the whole lump' very rapidly indeed. A small amount will multiply, expand, change and lighten the whole lump. Yah'shua (Jesus) used it to illustrate the way the Kingdom of Heaven rapidly expands in the soul, taking it over, once Yah'shua (Jesus) is let into a soul's lev (heart):
The Principle of Multiplication of Sin and Righteousness
"The kingdom of heaven is like chametz (leaven), which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened" (Matt.13:33, NKJV).
This principle of multiplication is a key sign or characteristic in the true, regenerated believer's life because such believers become productive in all they do! Whatever these men and women take in their hands for the glory of Elohim (God), it just multiplies prodigeously! So Biblical chametz (leaven) is used to illustrate both sin and Yahweh's righteousness in different situations. It is a 'living thing' reminding us of the way cancer multiplies and the way healthy cells multiply. Both weeds and good plants multiply in the same way, like sin and righteousness.
Real Leaven is Alive
This chametz (leaven) is a living thing within the 'lump' of a person's spirit and over time that chametz (leaven) in the lump will change its very structure. In spiritual terms, the chametz (leaven) of sin is the death force of Satan whereas the chametz (leaven) of righteousness is the chayim (life) of Yahweh-Elohim Himself! Which ever you invite into your life, consciously or unconsciously, will change you beyond all recognition over time, for evil or good, respectively.
What Biblical Leaven is Not
Because Biblical chametz (leaven) is a living organism symbolising living beings (Yahweh or Satan) it cannot possibly be referring to the artificial leavening agents being used in baking today. Therefore when Scripture commands us to remove all chametz (leaven) from our homes, because none of these things are 'alive', it can not be referring to:
Therefore it is permissible to use food-stuffs that use these substances during Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread).
- 1. Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate - NaHCO3);
- 2. Eggs or egg whites;
- 3. Cream of Tartar; or
- 4. Baking powder (Sodium Bicarbonate + other ingredients like Aluminium).
They Don't Follow Chametz Tavnith
None of these can multiply within a lump and if you don't have enough to put into a mixture, the dough simply won't rise. You cannot create a 'line' with them either, that is, use some of the dough mixture containing one of these items (like baking powder or egg whites) that can be placed into a clean dough mixture, and over time have a perfectly 'leavened' mixture. Indeed the mixture may not rise at all. Lastly, none of these substances is alive - they are not living organisms like chametz (yeast), nor do they change the actual structure of the dough the same way yeast does by actually breaking down the proteins and sugars of the dough. They do not follow the Biblical tavnith (pattern) of the leaven which is to be excluded from the food we eat at Chag haMatazah (Unleavened Bread).
Therefore we may say categorically that the only 'leavening' items that fully qualify all these criteria is commercial yeast or sourdough.
Tomorrow we will look at some of the arguments advanced in Judaism countering this position.
Continued in Part 2 (What is Leaven?)
Continued in Part 5 (Passover Season 2013)
 The bread that we consume today is the result of a long heritage dating back at least 5000 years. This followed the discovery of a process for raising dough, which was unexplainable back then. Several civilisations including the Egyptians, the Hebrews, the Greeks and later the Gauls and Iberians had mastered the technique needed to make fermented food products. Bread, wine and beer were all obtained using empirical processes (fermentation process), even if these processes were unexplainable at the time. It was only in the 19th century that scientific progress finally revealed the secrets of yeast. It was the French chemist Louis Pasteur who between 1857 and 1863 proved that fermentation was caused by living micro-organisms. These natural contaminants found in grain and fruit were identified as being a microscopic fungus known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae (aka yeast)
 "[Yeast is] a single-celled fungus that may be commercially produced or captured in its wild state on fruit, grain, and in the air. There are more than 125 strains. The two of most interest to bakers are Saccharomyces cerevisiae (commercially produced and also used in beer) and Saccharomyces exiguous (wild). Yeast initiates fermentation of the grain, resulting in leaveningand flavor" (exerpt from Peter Reinhart, Crust & Crumb: Master Formulas for Serious Bread Bakers, Ten Speed Press: 1991)
 Yahushua ben Moshe Eliyahu, Are We Keeping 7 or 8 Days of Chag Matzoth/Feast of Unleavened Bread? Scripturally: What is Chametz/Leavening?